The Entrepreneur's Number One Frustration

07/09/2010 11:58 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ok, so you've finally decided to flex your entrepreneurial muscles and lo and behold, you invent the better mousetrap. It just vaporizes mice -- no muss, no fuss. No cheese needed, no snappy sounds -- nothing. Any mice in your house just vaporize.

HOORAY, you say to yourself. You're going to be rich.

Unfortunately you don't have the money to market or promote your new device. But, no problem, you are willing to share the spoils. So, you present yourself to the largest mousetrap company in the world... MICE, INCORPORATED.

They agree to a meeting and before you know it you are in the room with the product design guy, their legal guy and their VP of R & D. You get excited, you can feel the money in your pocket already.

The product design guy is working on his own product, however. He sees your device as a threat to his job.

The legal guy feels that more study needs to be done. What happens to the mice vapors? Do we know the mice don't suffer? Is there a potential class action in the offing?

The VP of R & D is two years from retirement and a pension. Your device does look interesting (no, in fact, amazing) BUT he does not want to move too fast. It could backfire somehow -- even though he can't think how -- and put him at risk when he only has to keep his head down for 24 more months.

"Sorry," the three MICE, INC. men say. "Come back when it is a little more developed."

What they are really saying is that they are putting their own agendas ahead of the company they work for. They are playing the corporate equivalent of "kick the can down the road" while they cash another paycheck.

I am exaggerating of course. Not every corporate guy or gal are like the people in our example. But, far too many are. As every entrepreneur knows who has ever tried to present an idea or product to a corporation, there are a lot of people whose main focus is just keeping their head down.

Ultimately, the entrepreneur has to find the money or contacts or persistence to make the product himself. That is the story of Microsoft, Apple and Google.

Jim Randel is the Founder of The Skinny On™ book series. See